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Junk food may taste great, and sometimes there’s no resisting the craving. However, too much of it can lead to negative effects, especially in children. Obesity now affects every one in five children in the United States. However, kids live for the sugary, greasy food they consume, and studies show it has something to do with the advertisements they see. Should America ban junk-food ads that aim towards children?
According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents. Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2-5-year olds, 18.4% among children 6-11, and 20.6% among 12-19-year olds. And in a statement from NCBI, in a cross-section study, children who watched more than 5 hours of TV per day were 4.6 times as likely to be overweight as children who watched 0-1 hour per day. Many other studies by scientists, according to NPR, are building a case for how food ads make Americans overeat, practically like what cigarette commercials were doing to influence viewers to smoke.
There're already been much discussion regarding banning ads that promote junk food to help cure obesity in countries like Canada, Mexico, and others. Experts say although it’s not the legitimate cure, it’s going to help approach creating healthy choices.
Research published in the Journal of Public Health and taken by obesity experts around the world recommends a Canadian federal government-led national regulatory system prohibiting all commercial marketing of foods and beverages to children under 18 years of age.
Our neighbor south of the border restricted the marketing of unhealthy foods to children back in 2014. This was started due to growing rates of chronic diseases and concerns regarding the overburdened public health care system.
The Mexican sought it best to take multiple measures in decreasing the amount of junk foods the entire population consumes. They did so by cutting back advertisements of certain unhealthy foods between 2:30 and 7:30PM, where about 35% of viewers were under the age of 13. Since then, 40% of junk-food ads have been eliminated.
Not only was this beneficial for the health of children, it also benefited companies who were looking to get back on ads. Companies like Danone looked to lower their sugar content so their products could be advertised again.
Following their act to eliminate junk food ads, recently Mexico voted on prohibiting the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed foods to anyone under 18. This follows just shortly after the southern state of Oaxaca established an anti-junk food law. 73% of Mexicans are considered overweight. Since there is a scare when linking obesity to greater risks of the coronavirus, this controversial act is looking to save many lives in Mexico.
Meanwhile, America’s obesity epidemic is a weakness when battling COVID-19. A recent study from Oxford academic finds obesity is a risk factor in COVID-19 hospital admissions for people under 60. This makes you think…if other countries are limiting junk food, will this help Americans for their overall well-being?